As I and Mr. husband were arguing over something. I was so pissed off that I went straight into the bedroom and locked the door. There was pin-drop silence in the house. After a couple of hours, I went outside for a glass of water, we looked at each other. I really wanted to hug him and say ‘let it go’ but don’t know why I couldn’t. While going back to the room he held my hand and asked me to have food (which he cooked for us). To this, I responded,“I am a strong woman and capable enough to take care of myself. You need not do all this for me”.
He came closer and said “I am not doing this to tell you what I can do for you. I am doing this because I am concerned and I feel like taking care of you when you are disturbed because of me, to be there for you in bad phases is my responsibility. I don’t think that you are not capable enough. For sure you can handle and do everything that I can. The only thing is I don’t want you to go through anything alone.”
Let me tell you something about me, I am a gold medalist in my graduation. I have two post-graduate degrees and currently, I am a homemaker (by choice). I’ve always been a strong and independent girl and by this, I mean that I always had the strength to stand up for myself; to be myself wherever I am. I had the courage to speak up for what I want. Everything in my life is my own decision & my choice be it education, career or marriage. You can say that my father had raised me like this. I was his princess no doubt but he taught me to be a warrior too. I was not just daddy’s little girl but his warrior princess.
Then Mr Husband came into my life, I would like to introduce him as a chivalrous gentleman. Yes, he opens the doors for me, he pulls out the chair for me, he holds my jacket and offers his if I am too cold. He does all this along with respecting and loving my family. He cares about my opinions and shows respect. He steps in during awkward situations and never leaves in between any argument. I strongly feel that the bond between a strong girl and a chivalrous gentleman defines my idea of a match made in heaven, where both support and motivate each other. They work together on the flaws and strength of their personalities and grow individually as well as a couple.
As per Oxford, the word “chivalry” has 2 meanings:
1.Very polite, honest, and kind behaviour, especially by men towards women
2. The system of behaviour followed by knights in the medieval period of history, that put a high value on honour, kindness, and courage.
I agree that the idea of chivalry take us to the time when women were considered a weaker sex. Knights used to protect the damsels in distress because they were not well trained and strong enough to protect themselves. But today in this 21st century women have proved that they are capable of doing everything that men can do. So, chivalry, in today’s time has to recognize the fact that it’s not about just protecting but being respectfully supportive of the fact that women can handle themselves as well.
Chivalry is to be courteous to women because all that truly matters is the intent behind the gesture. For example, if you escort a woman to her home during night hours thinking that she won’t be able to do it alone or who will protect her or she needs a man to feel safe then this is not chivalry. Keep in mind that she is brave and strong enough to do it all by herself. But if you are truly concerned and want to do your part because you feel responsible, that is chivalry.
Chivalry is not a romantic theme but an extension of humanity. Offering help to somebody, being kind and supportive doesn’t always mean that the person accepting or needing the help is weak but it speaks in high volume of the person who is lending help or favour. I also hold doors for the person behind me. I pull out chairs for elderly people and for kids. I too offer help wherever I feel I should. Being chivalrous is not just romantic but being a human in a true sense.
In today’s times, I think the problem is how to balance these two strong forces of strong, independent woman and chivalry. So here I would like to say two things to today’s women, two things to today’s man and one thing to our society.
Starting with the women, don’t pretend to fit into the so-called definitions of a strong and independent woman. Be confident in what you are and be sure this is what you want to be. I strongly feel you need not mould yourself into definitions and ideas of freedom and independence. For example, Many female friends of mine boost about the fact that they are financially independent but I have witnessed at many places that they don’t feel free to exercise their choices in even small matters at hand. You truly feel liberated when you feel free to make your own choices and you are independent enough to handle the consequences of your decisions, that’s true enough. On the other hand, you are just a human, you can have flaws too. You can be vulnerable and weak too. There is no shame in it. The second thing is always to appreciate the chivalrous gestures by men. Learn to accept help. It doesn’t always mean that you are weak; it can also mean that you appreciate and admire the chivalry of a gentleman. Let him help you, support you and that’s how you do your bit of promoting good and kind in the world.
To the men, I would like to say that first understand that there lies a thin line of intention between chivalry and chauvinism. Chauvinism is if you think you are stronger than her, superior to her, she needs you because she is incapable. Chivalry on other hand is appreciating and admiring her for what she is, knowing that she is as much capable as you are. Chivalry is when you think that high of the woman that you think it’s your pleasure to offer her your help. Your gesture has an intention that you are not asserting your male dominance but shows your love, concern and kindness. The second thing is as you support the women always remember it’s equally important to provide her space to exercise her rights, to fulfil her duties. Admire her strength and respect her decisions. She already has her wings, you just need to be the wind beneath them.
And to the society, just because a strong woman is capable of fighting for her rights, she is fighting to stand equal to her male counterparts in the professional world, does not mean that chivalry is no longer needed or has to die. Understand where you teach your daughters to be strong and independent, teach your sons to be kind, loving and chivalrous. We all know that today’s woman is capable of paying her bills, running homes as well as business. Of course, they can easily pull chairs open doors for themselves but it’s always appreciable if you show respect and care by being helpful.
As I was busy writing, Mr Husband is here, with coffee and my favourite cookies. See, that’s what I mean, I could easily make a cup of coffee for myself, but it feels really good to be loved and taken care of. Nothing is perfect and nothing is defined. Ideas of chivalry, strength, independence are complex. No doubt, lots of discussions and arguments are going on, things are being said and written but all that simply matters is the intention behind the execution of these ideas.